Thursday, 21 April 2016
GAS heaters will shortly be turned on in homes across the Northern Tablelands as winter moves in, but because of an inequity in a state government scheme, not one resident in the region will qualify for any assistance with their gas bills.
Local State MP Adam Marshall says the situation is ludicrous and discriminatory and is something he is working on getting fixed.
The state’s $1 billion Energy Rebate Scheme currently provides low-income households with a range of assistance with energy costs, including a $90 a year rebate to help with gas bills – but only in regions with a reticulated gas supply.
“There is no community across the Northern Tablelands which has access to a reticulated gas supply,” Mr Marshall said.
“Everyone in our region depends on bottled LPG and homes using bottled gas do not qualify for the rebate.”
Mr Marshall observed that winter heating was essential across the electorate, particularly in the highlands of New England, and it was unreasonable that low-income residents should miss out on the government’s generous energy rebate scheme simply because of how their gas is delivered.
“I’ve received many calls and letters in regard to this discrepancy from my constituents,” Mr Marshall said.
“I want to assure them that I will be doing everything I can to change the situation. The rebate scheme as it stands is far from equitable.”
“When Parliament resumes next week, I will working the corridors, seeking support from my parliamentary colleagues to extend the scheme to include those households using LPG bottles, most of them in country NSW.”
The $90 Gas Rebate increases in value every year, indexed to the cost of gas.
“If the State Government can generously factor in an automatic update to rebates each year, in line with changes to retail energy prices, surely it’s reasonable to suggest a little more generosity by extending those rebates to all gas users, no matter the method of delivery,” Mr Marshall said.